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Lewis, Joan

The funeral has taken place on 25th June 2010, of Joan Esme Lewis, aged 84 years, wife of Gwili Lewis and one time manager of Northwich Memorial Hall. She was born in Ebbw Vale, the elder daughter of steelworker Gordon Evans and his wife Phyllis. She was considered to be “good at figures” and for most of her working life she worked in the accounts sections in industry and lesser commercial undertakings. Good grounding for her was being cashier at the cinemas in Ebbw Vale on leaving school at 16 years of age. She worked in London with Crosse & Blackwell and Farmers Printers & Publishers in Edgeware Road. On returning to Ebbw Vale in the mid 1950s, she was employed in the Richard Thomas & Baldwins steel company as an accounts clerk. In London she attended the Paddington Congregational Chapel and represented the youth at various Christian conferences. In those days she had designs on being a missionary. On her return from London, she met her husband at Saron Congregational Chapel, Ebbw Vale and were married there on March 23rd 1957. Gwili was the newly appointed local council’s entertainments officer and in lodgings across the road from Joan’s home. Their two children, Sian and Gareth were christened at Saron. Joan held strong Christian beliefs and as a young teenager, she topped the all Wales Sunday School examinations on Biblical knowledge. Later in life she became a lay preacher and led services in South Wales and in mid Cheshire. She was a much loved Sunday School teacher who also examined Brownies and Guides for their badges. Joan and Gwili have been Serving Elders with the United Reformed Church. As a family they came to Northwich in 1961, when Gwili was appointed manager of the Memorial Hall and in 1981 retired to Pen-coed in Mid Glamorgan where they became involved in the local organisations, especially the choir and Christian Aid. The choir broadcast regularly and took part in major festivals of massed choirs in the Royal Albert Hall, London. They became extras on Welsh television and occasionally on national TV. Following a year of indifferent health, when Joan had two mild strokes and a heart attack, they returned to Northwich in April 2000 to be near Gareth and his family in Hartford. They were both of course already well known in the town, and for them, renewing associations with friends, the Church and the Welsh Society was a source of great for joy. Joan was the treasurer of the Northwich Welsh Society and is the fourth member to have died this year. A few years ago she was its Chairman. All her adult life Joan supported a number of charities, mainly Christian Aid and the Samaritans. In the early 1970s she was chairman of the Samaritans Fund Raising Committee. In 2008 she wrote her life story It’s Me! It’s Me O Lord. A limited number were printed with all proceeds given in aid of the local Joshua Tree Fund. Just before Christmas, Joan was diagnosed as suffering from cancer. She accepted it bravely, and often said she’d been blessed with a “happy 53 years married life, has two lovely children and been to 26 countries.” Joan is survived by her husband Gwili, daughter Sian with husband Hugh and daughters Julia and Emily in Suffolk; son Gareth with his wife Sian and sons Matthew, Daniel and Andrew in Hartford; and sister Carol with husband James in Edinburgh. The services at both Walton Lea Crematorium and the Castle Methodist/United Reformed Church were conducted by her Minister, Rev Chris Tolley supported at the Church by Rev David Spence, Middlewich. Readers at the Church were Dr Margaret Salisbury and Judy Studd. Jean Cross was the soloist and her husband Alan Cross the Organist. Catering in the church schoolroom after the Service of Thanksgiving for Joan’s life was arranged by the ladies of the church. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to George Bell, Funeral Directors, Lostock Green, to be distributed to Joan’s chosen charities, Tenovus Cancer Research, Arthritis Research and the Macmillan Nurses.

Lewis Joan

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